As humans age, their immune systems naturally weaken. This, combined with chronic health conditions and prescribed medications, can make seniors more susceptible to infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates infections account for one third of all deaths among those over the age of 65. Because it can be difficult to diagnose infections in seniors, it’s important to watch out for signs of these common infections.
Influenza, which is commonly referred to as the flu, is a respiratory infection that typically affects the lungs, nose, and throat. Symptoms of the flu include fever, body aches, chills, sore throat, runny nose, and a cough. Those with weakened immune systems or chronic health conditions are at serious risk for complications from the flu. There’s no cure for influenza, as it’s a virus. Getting a flu shot and maintaining good hygiene are critical for preventing the flu.
If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of Rocklin elderly home care. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping.
2. Urinary Tract Infections
A urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when bacteria enter the urethra, kidneys, or bladder and begin to multiply. It’s a common infection in people of all ages. However, because it presents with unusual symptoms in seniors, it can be difficult to diagnose. Many people with UTIs experience a burning sensation while urinating and pain in the back or stomach. Seniors may experience confusion, dizziness, hallucinations, and agitation when they have UTIs. If left untreated, the infection can cause kidney damage. Antibiotics and drinking plenty of water can treat UTIs.
3. Bacterial Pneumonia
Bacterial pneumonia is an infection that causes the small air sacs in the lungs to be filled with pus or fluid, making it difficult to breathe. Those with pneumonia experience coughing, fever, chills, and breathing problems. Pneumonia can develop as a secondary infection resulting from influenza or through bacteria from person-to-person contact. Antibiotics and breathing treatments can treat pneumonia.
4. Skin Infections
Many skin conditions can affect seniors, as they have fragile skin that’s prone to scrapes and cracks, which allows bacteria to enter the skin. Shingles, cellulitis, pressure sores, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and fungal infections are common among seniors. Maintaining careful personal hygiene, eating a healthy diet, and using proper first aid for cuts, scrapes, and abrasions can prevent skin infections.
5. Gastrointestinal Infections
Children and younger adults with gastrointestinal (or enteric) infections often experience diarrhea, vomiting, pain, and fever. These symptoms don’t always appear in seniors, which can make diagnosing enteric infections difficult and allow bacteria-related infections such as salmonella and e-coli to proliferate in seniors. If your loved one is unwell and you suspect an enteric infection, talk with his or her doctor about testing. Antibiotics and intravenous fluids can treat enteric infections.
If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elder care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that arises as a result of another infection in the body. It’s caused when chemicals the body uses to fight the original infection are released throughout the body, causing severe inflammation and widespread infection. Sepsis can be very difficult to treat, and seniors are more susceptible to sepsis than younger individuals. A person with sepsis must be treated in a hospital with antibiotics and fluids.
Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Rocklin, California, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. We will work with you to create a customized home care plan that’s suited for your loved one’s unique needs. Call the Home Care Assistance team at (916) 226-3737 today.